OK, so I’ll confess…I don’t blog much. I tend to only jump on here if I’ve got something to say. And I do today…
So our morning show does a daily morning feature called “Moment From The Message,” in which the hosts will read a few verses from The Message translation of the Bible (yes, it actually is a translation, albeit a different kind) and discuss how it impacts them or how a listener might apply this to his or her life.
This is probably the segment of the day from which we get the most positive response from listeners. It airs at 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. weekdays, so people are always telling us it helps them start their day with this “nugget” of devotion to God. As with anything in media, we also get negative response.
A lot of people don’t like The Message. Clearly. And I get that. There are a still a lot of “King James Only” type people out there, and if that’s you, cool. Some people just prefer NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT, or any selection from a host of other translations. And some question Eugene Peterson’s supposed soft translation technique on homosexuality. Again, totally cool with that.
But here’s the one complaint we get very often that I just think is so tragic, because you can tell the spirit from which the complaint resonates.
“I don’t like the Message because I can’t even recognize what scripture you’re referring to when you read it.”
I think this feedback is tragic because if we’re not careful, I fully believe that we can turn our knowledge about the Bible into our functioning God. It’s possible to assume confidence not in God himself, but in what we can know about God. And this is absolutely tragic. So some listeners may complain about the version of the Bible we’re using, simply because they “don’t know it,” while totally ignoring the spirit of the passage, or heaven forbid, opening their ears to hear the Word of the Lord in a slightly different way. Today, that spirit was Jesus inviting the people into his rest, gentleness, and humility in Matthew 11, which ironically, sparked at least one complaint.
If you don’t like The Message, again… I’m totally cool with that. I don’t like it all the time. Even Eugene Peterson has said, “When I’m in a congregation where somebody uses [The Message] in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, “Hear the Word of God from The Message.” But it surprises me how many do.”
Friends, let’s try to live this verse. (And I’ll even give it to you in NIV)..
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12